PROTECTING YOUR PRIVACY: Public Tracking of Private U.S.-Registered Aircraft — Originally published in BusinessAir Magazine, May 2018, Volume 28, No. 5.

Most of my clients who own whole aircraft want to avoid the public’s scrutiny of their ownership details and flight itineraries. Privacy is an important reason why they choose to travel noncommercially. Additionally, aircraft owners are sometimes public figures for whom privacy is key. Some owners use their flights to conduct significant business deals which need to be kept confidential.

It is important for those who require travel privacy to understand that, by default, the flight information for private aircraft is broadcast over the internet. On August 21, 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) issued a final notice describing the procedures to limit the dissemination of Aircraft Situation Display to Industry (“ASDI”). The process has been in effect since September 20, 2013.

Unless the owner or operator of an aircraft takes the steps necessary to block public tracking, their aircraft can be tracked by anyone who has access to the internet and the registration number of the aircraft. It is also important to note that once the necessary steps are taken to block the aircraft from tracking, it can take several weeks for the request to be processed. Beware that the request is not granted immediately.

When purchasing an aircraft or when privacy becomes critical to the aircraft owner, the buyer or aircraft owner should initiate the blocking process.

In order to block the tracking of your aircraft, the following protocol must be followed:

1. A request must be sent to the FAA. The request can be sent by email or regular mail. Send email to ASDIBlock@faa.gov. For regular mail, send your request to the following address:

FAA ASDI Blocking Request – ATO System
Operations Services, AJR-0
Wilber Wright Building, Room 3E1500
600 Independence Avenue SW,
Washington DC 20597

2. The request needs to indicate the level of ASDI blocking being requested. There are two different levels.

a. FAA Source Blocking — no ASDI data is broadcast from the FAA to the ASDI vendors. Operators will not be able to track their own aircraft.
b. ASDI Subscriber Level Blocking — the data is broadcast from the FAA to the ASDI vendor, but not made available to the public. This option allows owners and operators to track their own aircraft through the ASDI service provider they select.

3. The request needs to contain all of the following information:

a. Name of operator making the request;
b. Registration number of the aircraft;
c. Statement that the requestor is either the owner or the operator of the aircraft or a legal representative of the aircraft owner or operator;
d. Telephone number or email address of the requestor where the FAA can send questions, if needed; and
e. The selection of which level of ASDI blocking is being requested (i.e. FAA Source Blocking or ASDI Subscriber Level Blocking)

As noted above, blocking requests are not processed immediately. The requests are processed by the FAA on the first Thursday of each month. Once processed, there is no renewal requirement. The aircraft will remain blocked, even if ownership of the aircraft is transferred, until such time as a request to unblock the aircraft is submitted to the FAA.

Aircraft owners who consider a high degree of privacy essential should take the simple steps outlined above and allow enough time to complete the blocking process. This will ensure the continued confidentiality of your ownership details and your location while traveling aboard your aircraft.

Please contact Amanda Applegate at 310-392-5200 or aapplegate@aerlex.com.